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Negative phrases puzzle
Ian Kime
September 28, 2021

Negative phrases puzzle


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The daughter of a friend of mine has been having some trouble with basic negative phrases. I doesn’t can, He don’t want, etc.

He asked me if I couldn’t come up with something easy for him to help burn this information into her teeny tiny little brain.

I gave it a shot and not only does it work with tiny brains, but normal adult-sized brains, too. This is the perfect warm-up for my A1 group full of students who never do their homework and forget the simple things. I’m looking at you, Vlad!

How to use it

  • Screen share that puppy, or print and pass it out.
  • Students must connect the 3 different elements and create a sentence with them.
    • a subject in blue;
    • a negative modal in red;
    • an image.
  • The rules for how to connect can be up to you, but the basic rules should simply be connect 3 boxes whose sides are touching. 
  • The example in green at the bottom gives students a clue as to how they might connect their elements. As you can see, it doesn’t need to be connected in the correct order.
  • Some gamification ideas include;
    • Maximum number of responses within a time limit;
    • Students take turns connecting boxes and creating sentences. Once a box has been used, it cannot be used again. The student with the most number of correct phrases at the end of the game when there are no more viable answers wins!
  • Got any other ideas?

Share your ideas, house rules or gamification techniques down in the comments below.

Ian Kime

Ian Kime

I have been teaching English abroad since receiving my CELTA certificate in Poland in 2018. I enjoy tracking my individual students’ development but love having lessons with big groups! Now that I teach online, I am accompanied by my sidekicks Olaf, Mała, Pirate and Bandit on a regular basis.


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